Battery-powered cars slip behind plug-in hybrids in ultra-green race 14 Sep 2016

Outlander stays ahead of Leaf

The Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid continues to dominate the ultra-low carbon car and van league table with 21,708 of the vehicles licensed in the UK at the end of Q2 2016.

The Outlander makes up 33% of the total of 66,374 plug-in grant eligible vehicles on the road.

In second place after the Outlander comes the pure battery-electric Nissan Leaf at 12,837.

In third place is the BMW i3 (4,457) which is available with a choice of drive trains: pure battery electric or a range extended version (where a petrol internal combustion engine is used to recharge the battery on long journeys).

The Renault Zoe (4,339) is fourth most common, followed by the Mercedes-Benz C350e (3,337) which has leapt ahead of the Tesla Model S (3,312) and Volkswagen Golf GTE (2,657) to take fifth place.

The Outlander, Mercedes-Benz C350e and BMW 330e were the only three cars to increase their licensed numbers by more than a 1,000 in Q2 2016.

Four of the five vehicles with the highest growth in licensed numbers over the quarter were plug-in hybrid (PHEV) versions of regular cars:

Mitsubishi Outlander (PHEV) – 1,763 increase
Mercedes-Benz C350e (PHEV) – 1,439
BMW 330e (PHEV) – 1,113
Golf GTE (PHEV) – 687
Tesla S (pure battery powered) - 486

This is the list of all 41 vehicles that are, or have been, eligible for the government’s plug-in car and van grant schemes and which were on the road in the UK at the end of Q2 2016 (the most recent date for which figures are available).

Rank

Make and Model

Q2 2016

Q1 2016

Q4 2015

Q3 2015

Q2 2015

1

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (all variants)

21,708

19,945

16,100

14,099

12,066

2

Nissan Leaf

12,837

12,469

11,219

10,441

9,310

3

BMW i3 (of which are range extended versions)

4,457 (3,131)

4,065 (2,855)

3,574 (2,440)

2,943 (1,940)

2,484 (1,579)

4

Renault Zoe

4,339

3,918

3,327

2,401

2,062

5

Mercedes-Benz C350e

3,337

1,898

628

128

19

6

Tesla Model S

3,312

2,826

2,087

1,346

1,047

7

Volkswagen Golf GTE

2,657

1,970

1,359

1,025

350

8

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

1,655

1,651

1,580

1,501

1,439

9

Audi A3 e-tron

1,634

1,445

1,218

1,033

570

10

Nissan e-NV200 (all variants)

1,487

1,243

1,047

896

705

11

BMW 330e

1,479

340

-

-

 

12

BMW i8

1,307

1,163

1,022

964

823

13

Vauxhall Ampera

1,267

1,261

1,272

1,279

1,250

14

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine

813

561

38

-

-

15

Renault Kangoo ZE

785

755

740

731

719

16

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

475

454

395

361

336

17

Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid (all variants)

410

366

337

314

299

18

Peugeot Ion

405

383

374

371

368

19

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

303

193

162

157

61

20

Mitsubishi i-Miev

252

257

251

250

252

21

Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

215

214

212

216

215

22

Citroen C-Zero

213

192

167

199

205

23

Kia Soul EV

193

170

145

83

53

24

BMW 225xe

163

65

-

-

 

25

Volkswagen e-up!

154

150

142

133

124

26

Mercedes-Benz S500 Hybrid

125

129

157

159

138

27

Volkswagen e-Golf

123

120

114

98

88

28

Chevrolet Volt

119

122

122

119

125

29

Renault Fluence

79

78

70

71

71

30

Ford Focus Electric

22

19

19

21

23

30

Daimler Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell

22

23

23

21

27

32

Mia (all variants)

15

15

15

14

12

33

Toyota Mirai

11

9

4

2

 

34

Volkswagen Passat GTE

1

1

     

35

BYD e6

-

-

-

-

-

=

BD Otomotiv eTraffic

-

-

-

-

-

=

BD Otomotiv eDucato

-

-

-

-

-

=

Citroen Berlingo EV

-

-

-

-

-

=

Peugeot ePartner

-

-

-

-

-

=

Smith Electric Smith Edison

-

-

-

-

-

=

Mahindra e20

-

-

     
 

Total

66,374

58,470

47,920

41,376

35,241

 

Note: Some of the vehicles above might have been bought without the grant. Some might be licensed to manufacturers and dealers rather than customers. The total number licensed is below the total number of grants claimed because of the lag between an order being placed and the car being delivered.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Getting more clean vehicles on the road is crucial to help tackle both climate change and poor air quality yet while there are a record 31.6 million cars on the UK’s roads, just 0.2% are ultra-green.

“At the start of the month MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee said they had no confidence in the UK achieving its long-term goals for greening the car fleet.

“Car companies selling ultra-green vehicles will be looking at these figures closely. On 1 March the maximum grant dropped from £5,000 per car to £4,500 and because of a new tiered system, some grants – including those for the Outlander – are now no more than £2,500.

“In a rapidly evolving, but still fledgling market it is hard to discern trends but with the plug-in car grant scheme due for another revision within six months the concern must be that the market will remain fragile, and so we are quite some way from being able to drop the grants completely. 

“Given that a 5p charge for a plastic bag changed the shopping behaviour of millions, it should be no surprise that when thousands of pounds are at stake drivers are very shrewd about their buying decisions. The cost of green cars is pivotal to their take up and the market will remain acutely sensitive to changes in price whether that is driven by manufacturers or ministers.

“One hopeful sign is that there is an ever increasing number of green vehicles in the showroom and some manufacturers like VW have publicly pinned their hopes on alternatively-fuelled cars.”

On 1 September 2016 the Environmental Audit Committee published its report on Sustainability in the Department for Transport:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmenvaud/184/18408.htm?utm_source=184&utm_medium=crbullet&utm_campaign=modulereports

Mary Creagh MP, chair of the Committee, said:

"The uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles like electric cars, is too low to meet the UK's climate change targets at the lowest cost to the public. Air quality targets that were supposed to be met in 2010 won't be hit until 2020 at the earliest. And it's been almost a year since we discovered VW had fitted cars with cheat devices, but government has still to decide what action to take against the company."

ENDS

Contacts:

Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

020 7747 3445 | 07711 776448 | philip.gomm@racfoundation.org  

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users. The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist.

The RAC Foundation is a registered charity, number 1002705. 

On 1 March 2016 changes were made to the structure of the plug-in car grant scheme with certain vehicles recategorised. This is a link to an explanation of the new eligibility criteria and grant levels:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/502056/plug-in-grant-rate-changes-2016.pdf

 

Details of the Foundation’s work is available at www.racfoundation.org

The licensing figures by model are available to view on the RAC Foundation website:

http://www.racfoundation.org/data/plug-in-grant-eligible-vehicles-licensed-by-quarter

It is available to embed on your website using the following code:

<iframe class="highcharts-iframe" src="//cloud.highcharts.com/embed/igocyt" style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 500px"></iframe>

The overall number of plug-in car and van grant eligible vehicles licensed plotted over time (broken down by pure electric versus plug-in hybrids) is also available on the same webpage:

http://www.racfoundation.org/data/plug-in-grant-eligible-vehicles-licensed-by-quarter

It is available to embed on your website using the following code:

<iframe class="highcharts-iframe" src="//cloud.highcharts.com/embed/ijykuc" style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 500px"></iframe>

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